Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet cleared the way Tuesday to extend the Dolphin Expressway (State Road 836).
The SR 836 Southwest Extension / Kendall Parkway project, in the works for years now, would extend the expressway 13-14 miles west. It has faced legal hurdles and political obstacles since its inception.
"I’m very concerned. I’m really not sure. I think it's in limbo right now as to whether it will proceed, there are going to be appeals to this decision," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Tuesday's vote cleared the way for the county to apply for environmental permits from state agencies.
The cabinet's decision goes against a judge's recommendation in March.
The only state cabinet member to vote against the expansion was Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried.
If built, the so-called Kendall Parkway extension would provide traffic relief to 60,000 residents in rural parts of the county, according to the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority.
But opponents argue a new highway would destroy the wetlands that help replenish the county’s underground drinking water supply.
"I did object to this. I voted against this as a commissioner," Levine Cava said. "I’m still opposed to it. It would affect about 1,000 acres of farmland. It's an environmentally sensitive land, it has a dubious benefit in terms of traffic."
Levine Cava says while she was against the plan, the commission at the time voted for it, making its support the official county position.
"These are dollars that could be used for transit," Levine Cava said. "We have an east-west corridor we have to build, we have other things adding to our smart plan that will make a difference in terms of traffic, so I do not see this as a solution."